CAD file conversion misses the bus

Thinking about CAD file format conversion without content creation is like missing the bus

Here at Seemage, we marvel at the amount of time and energy people spend thinking about file format conversions. In a nutshell, we believe this is a solved problem…that people who want or need to convert file formats can and do, easily and accurately.

We think the real issue isn’t about conversion…it’s about content creation. Customers tell us they need technology to allow departments outside engineering and design to create useful, accurate product deliverables. Our customers’ real challenge is to make it possible for end-users to achieve this in a compatible, secure way. (Naturally, we think Seemage matches this customer need perfectly.)

So, it never ceases to amaze me when I read a review of a product whose entire purpose…its complete market aspiration…its raison d’être is simple file conversion and file transport. We shake our heads at the level of effort being applied to solve yesterday’s problems and wonder why the CAD press continues to make solved problems seem more important than they really are.

Case in point is this review of Acrobat 3D. I’m not trying to pick on this reviewer, but you can read the entire review without learning how to do anything beyond file conversion. Sure, there’s some general information about “collaboration,” but that’s just a part of the real objective and pretty soft as an application area.

It’s as if we were building a bus transportation system, but all we think about is whether or not the tires are interchangeable on the different models of buses. Instead, we should think about whether or not all the routes serve the region well, or, better, how to maintain the buses.

At Seemage, we think it’s time for the industry to start thinking more broadly about what technology today has to deliver to truly create a revolution in the way products are manufactured. Otherwise, we’ll just continue to miss the bus.

3 comments to CAD file conversion misses the bus

  • Scott Sheppard  says:

    I agree that applications should be based on functionality instead of file format; however, discussions of file format are pertinent in some situations. With regard to your bus transportation analogy, if I want to travel from Phoenix to San Francisco, I need a bus that takes me to the airport, so I can get on an airplane. In that regard, file formats are sometimes more like the question of whether the bus route serves me well instead of are the tires interchangeable? I need to convert my travel from land to air or the journey would take too long.

  • Alex Neihaus  says:

    Hi, Scott.

    We’re gonna stretch the metaphor here way too much (-:, but what you are talking about is “intermodal” transport: you want to change from a bus to a plane.

    In my view, that’s like changing from one product to another…not at all the same as making sure the information about a single product is available to everyone inside the organization in ways they can actually use it.

    IMHO, the manic focus on converting things obscures the need to do something with the info.

    In this case, both the bus and plane get something done. They do it differently. Translating from one to the other isn’t hard, or even that important.

  • […] I wanted to pick up the discussion thread started last week when we posted our assertion that the file translation problem has been […]

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